The Canucks enjoyed a successful weekend in California improving their preseason record to 4-0 with wins over San Jose and Anaheim. With three more games left before the regular season opener, the Canucks coaches and management team continue to whittle down the training camp roster.
Vancouver Canucks General Manager Mike Gillis announced today that the Canucks have reduced their training camp roster by four players.
Forwards Dan Gendur, Michael Grabner, Pierre-Cedric Labrie, and defenceman Daniel Rahimi have been reassigned to the Manitoba Moose.
Gendur, who earned a spot on the roster at the Canucks main camp this year, started off strong with a goal and four shots in his first preseason action.
Canucks 2006 first rounder, Grabner had high hopes of making this year's roster and after impressing coaches on a line with Jannik Hansen
against the Oilers, his performance wasn't strong enough in his second appearance with the Canucks Sunday night.
“In Michael's case, when Mike [Gillis] and I met with [him] this morning, it went well in the sense that I think he’s matured, he’s taken his career into his own hands right now," said head coach Alain Vigneault of Grabner. "He definitely understands the commitment as far as conditioning goes."
"[Now] he needs to dominate the American league with his strengths. He’s supposed to be an offensive player with great speed and that can put the puck in the net. He did it last year at times, he had some inconsistency there, this year we expect him to do it and do it consistently. And if he does that then we’re confident that we're going to have a young man that is going to help us out in the future."
Labrie, who played 67 games with the Moose last year, appeared in just one preseason game registering an assist.
Rahimi was the first to admit that he had a disappointing camp last year and came into this year hoping for some redemption. While he had a stronger camp with praises from Manitoba coach, Scott Arniel, with the depth Vancouver has acquired on the blueline, Rahimi didn't see any playing time in the four preseason games to date.
Following practice today Vigneault confirmed today that James Sharrow, Jason Jaffray, and Mark Cullen are being released with 24 hours to clear waivers before joining the Manitoba Moose training camp.
The battle continues for offensive as well as energic, aggressive players trying to earn a spot on the Canucks roster.
Kyle Wellwood, who has been proving his offensive abilities during the pre-season was retested for fitness levels this morning and improved his scores to acceptable NHL levels. Wellwood who has been working with the Canucks strength and conditioning coach for the past two months recieved recognition from Vigneault for his efforts.
"He has made unbelivable strides and I think a lot of credit goes to him and his commitment to getting to where he needs to be," said Vigneault.
Another highlight of the pre-season action has been Jannik Hansen
, the young right winger drafted 287th overall in 2004. Hansen who has played in Manitoba for the past two years has impressed coaching staff with his development as a two-way player.
"It's a matter of putting out your effort and showing the coaching staff that you're here to compete for a job and make sure you play your best every time you're out there," said Hansen. "I feel pretty comfortable this year. The coaching staff has given me a lot of ice time so it’s a lot a stuff to work with and in all situations, so I can’t do anything but smile and appreciate it and do my best."
Cody Hodgson, is another notable prospect who has survived this round of cuts and is eagar to play whatever role the coaches and management team feel is right for him.
“I think the goal all along, the whole summer, that I’ve worked to stick here no matter what role, and that’s up to the coaches obviously, that decision, but I think my development would be best served here," said Hodgson.
As more cuts loom in the near future, the players are concentrating on giving their all on the ice in practice and games. Vigneault acknowledged that while choosing the team is their priority, appointing a new captain is something that him and Mike Gillis will be discussing this week. Although he didn't name any players he acknowleded that there are some definite players stepping to the forefront.